Cisco plans to take on Apple, other CE companies with digital entertainment gadgets

“Cisco Systems, the dominant provider of the digital pipes that run the Internet, is making a big play in digital entertainment. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January in Las Vegas, it plans to introduce a new line of products, including a digital stereo system that is meant to move music wirelessly around a house,” Saul Hansell reports for The New York Times.

“That is the first small move in a long-term strategy to take on Apple, Sony and the other giants of consumer electronics. Cisco is working on other gadgets that will let people watch Internet video on their televisions more easily. And its biggest bet is that people will want to use a version of its corporate videoconferencing system called Telepresence to chat with their friends over their high-definition televisions,” Hansell reports

“The company has been talking about reaching out to consumers for years,” Hansell reports. “Despite Cisco’s dominance of the corporate market and its $27 billion in cash, it faces a number of challenges as it tries to find a place in the home. The Cisco brand is not associated with consumer electronics.”

“With the exception of Apple, other computer companies have not had much success in consumer electronics,” Hansell reports. “Consumers… have not been all that interested in set-top boxes, despite many offerings from companies including TiVo, Vudu and Roku. The most successful has been the Apple TV, which can be used to watch downloaded movies and television programs, but it is still what Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, called a ‘hobby’ rather than a business like the iPod or the iPhone.”

Full article here.


  1. Yes, the first name I always think of when I am looking for Digital Entertainment Gadgets (DEGs?) is Cisco. They will have a long, costly, uphill climb if they intend to do this.

  2. Quote from zek: “The most successful has been the Apple TV” is that true? You wouldn’t think so from the media coverage.”

    Well, it’s a small goal for Apple’s TV box ideas from their standpoint. I figured nobody feels raved about this Apple iTunes rental, but sooner or later, it’ll come to a time where Apple TV will be the next big thing since the DVD revolution.

  3. They wouldn’t necessarily be doing this through the Cisco brand. They DO own Linksys, it’s not such a stretch to think that they’d integrate those services into their consumer routers and wireless devices.

  4. If Linksys is any indication, Apple doesn’t have a lot to worry about. Cisco/linksys and apple will be at opposite ends of both the quality and ease of use scales. That’s not to say Cisco won’t be successful, I’m just saying it won’t have much effect on Apple.

  5. @ onlooker,

    I suppose you’re going to tell me the XBox 360 is a set top box.

    Don’t go there. The PS3 was being bought just because it was the cheapest BluRay box on the market. If anything, the PS3 might be the most successful set top box.

    As for cable and satellite TV whoever makes those set top boxes, Motorola is one, they would have the most successful set top box makers.

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